WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.
– Despite a season-high 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor from Marcus Ware
(Vineland, N.J./Vineland), the Monmouth University men’s basketball team fell to visiting Central Connecticut 78-58 in Northeast Conference action in the MAC on Thursday night. With the loss, the Hawks fall to 8-14 overall and 3-6 in the league.
CCSU, which connected on 13 three-pointers, got 75 points from its starting five players, including 24 points and five assists from Kyle Vinales and 21 points and five rebounds from Adonis Burbage, to move to 5-4 in the NEC and 9-11 overall.
Monmouth, which hit 37.9% from the field (22-58) and 10-of-19 from the free throw line, hit 4-of-15 from beyond the arc. Central connected on 51.6% (32-62) from the field and 13-of-28 three-point attempts.
“We got thoroughly outplayed tonight,” stated head coach King Rice
. “It hurts. It makes you feel sick. We just have to get better. We have to be more together, and our effort has to go way up.”
Joining Ware in double-figures for the Hawks was Stephen Spinella
(Colts Neck, N.J./Apex Academy), who netted 11 points and six rebounds, while Andrew Nicholas
(Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) added nine points and three assists in his first game back after missing four straight league contests. Tyrone O'Garro
(Newark, N.J./Saint Peter’s Prep) tied a season-high with nine rebounds, while Jesse Steele
(Milford, N.J./Oak Hill Academy) contributed seven points, four rebounds and four assists.
The Blue Devils jumped out to an 8-2 lead following Hunter’s break away dunk, before Steele’s three-pointer off a feed from Ware pulled the Hawks within 8-5 at 16:24. Ignited by seven straight points from Vinales, CCSU pushed its lead to 15-5 with 14:57 left, but Nicholas’ three made the tally 15-8.
The Hawks climbed within 22-19 on Spinella’s trey, and within 24-21 on Ed Waite
’s (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Pine Crest) drive at 8:27, but the Blue Devils answered with an 8-0 spurt in 1:43 to move the score to 32-21, and rattled off a 21-5 run over four minutes of action to inflate the advantage to 45-26 on Burbage’s trifecta with 3:59 showing.
Monmouth responded with a 6-0 streak, started by Spinella’s second trey and punctuated by Waite’s lay-in, to pull within 45-32 with 51 ticks, but Hunter’s corner three-pointer as time expired gave CCSU a 48-32 advantage at the break.
Burbage’s three-pointer pushed the Blue Devils back in front by 19, 51-32, just 50 seconds into the second stanza, however the Hawks netted eight straight, including a pair of baskets from Steele, to climb within 51-40 with 15:50 left.
After Dion Nesmith
’s (Union, N.J./Union) conventional three-point play made the score 60-48 at 11:23, the Blue Devils strung together an 8-2 run over 2:40 of play to claim a 68-50 lead, while Vinales’ three-pointer put CCSU in front 71-52 with 5:10 showing.
The Blue Devils pushed their lead to 76-56 on Hunter’s three, while Burbage’s baseline jumper accounted for the final 20-point advantage with 1:45 remaining.
CC’s three other starters, joining Vinales and Burbage, Hunter notched 14 points, nine rebounds, four assists, four block and two steals, while Malcolm McMillan added 10 points, seven boards and six assists. Joe Efese rounded out the CCSU starting five with six points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots.
Monmouth returns to action on Saturday, February 2, when the Hawks host Bryant University in a Northeast Conference contest in the MAC at 7:00 p.m.
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